After a week of messages showing support, ranging from Dave Bautista’s angry and direct broadsides against the far-right to Chris Pratt’s cryptic tweeting of Bible verses, the whole cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 have united to sign an open letter praising James Gunn.
The contents of the letter, shared by Bautista on Twitter just a few moments ago, can be found below:
To our fans and friends:
We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.
Being in the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movies has been a great honor in each off our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.
Continuing on, it reads:
“Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over – not by a long shot.
There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Amercians from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.
It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.
It’s an admirably straightforward and heartfelt letter, albeit one that doesn’t go quite far enough to call for him to be reinstated to the project (though Bautista has added the hashtag #RehireJamesGunn on his tweet, I think that’s his own view rather than that of the entire cast, but who knows?). The closest they get in the letter itself is that they’re “encouraged by the outpouring of support” from those who wish to see him retake the role of director on the upcoming film. What that broadly means, as I read it, is that while they’re willing to publicly state that they want to see Gunn rehired, they aren’t going to threaten to walk away from the movie if he isn’t.
That’s understandable, too, as they would be breaking multi-million dollar contracts with Disney if they left, which is basically career suicide no matter how famous you are. Still, it’s uplifting to see that the on-screen bonding between a group of “misfits” seeking redemption for their shady pasts is something these actors felt in real life with their colleagues, with James Gunn’s influence clearly being a huge part of that.
I’m of the opinion that there’s a decent chance that Gunn will be reinstated as director. Kowtowing to far-right extremists simply isn’t a good look for Disney and Marvel Studios, especially when Kevin Feige has been on record as trying to advance progressive themes in these movies.
I’d imagine that there are quiet conversations going on behind locked doors now wondering how best to take him back while still keeping face. Whether the studio can manage to find a way to do that and whether they’d fear the inevitable backlash and further politicization of rehiring James Gunn are just hurdles they have to clear. Still, it’s nice to see the Guardians of the Galaxy cast standing up for their friend, who’s been treated pretty shabbily over the last week.